At Penn State Berks, hospitality management students are learning about the principles of food production and service management in a living laboratory, through a unique collaboration between the college’s hospitality management baccalaureate degree program and the Office of Housing and Food Services. Faculty from the degree program and Food Services staff have partnered to offer HM 330: Food Production and Service Management.
The course, now in its sixth year, is limited in the number of students — to ensure that each participant has a comprehensive hands-on experience. The goal is to teach students to apply management principles to food production and service in the daily operation of a campus food service facility. During the course, students rotated through management and staff roles where they worked in Tully’s at various stations, including the pizza, deli, grill, display, and entrée stations. Students also worked on food preparation and catering orders, under the supervision of Chef Joe Ertel.
Ertel commented, “The adeptness of this group of students reassures me that the future of the industry is in good hands.” This year, eleven students enrolled in the course including seniors Grace Fischer, Valeria Pena Dominguez, and Amy Yu; juniors Darrel Boateng, Chaslyn Christman, Adara Otero, Thomas Scott Jr., Heather Szymborski-Pratt, Joshua Tanis, and Taylor Yanczak; and sophomore Ellinor Condit.
Scott stated, “This class has given me a great foundation of food safety and knowledge of proper cooking techniques for the future.”
“By integrating classroom lecture content into the daily operation of a campus food service facility like Tully’s, students have the opportunity to apply key management principles related to planning and leading in quantity food production settings’” stated Pauline Milwood, assistant professor of hospitality management. “The ‘living lab’ also allows students to draw on prior theoretical knowledge in areas of management, nutrition, and sanitation in a commercial foodservice environment.”
Linda MacDuff, director of Housing and Food Services, summarized the experience, stating, “Housing and Food Services is always excited to provide hands-on learning opportunities to the hospitality management program students and we are happy to provide students with food service experience that complements what they are learning in the classroom. The enthusiasm of these students to learn what it takes to be a successful hospitality professional is a testament to their enthusiasm and the mentoring that they receive from the hospitality professors.”